Penn State

Penn State student injured in explosion at campus lab

An Alpha Fire truck outside of the Agriculture Engineering Building after an explosion was reported inside of a ventilation system on Wednesday. Police said a student suffered second-degree burns in the incident.
An Alpha Fire truck outside of the Agriculture Engineering Building after an explosion was reported inside of a ventilation system on Wednesday. Police said a student suffered second-degree burns in the incident. CDT photo

An explosion was reported at the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building on the Penn State campus at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the university, a student in Room 112 was doing a tissue culture when the blast occurred in an exhaust hood. The student suffered second-degree burns and was transported to Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

The building is on Shortlidge Road.

An investigation will be conducted by Penn State’s department of environmental health and safety, according to Penn State police at the scene.

Powers said the building was evacuated for a short time but is now open.

Alpha Fire Company was dispatched to conduct an “inside investigation,” assistant safety officer Svend Pedersen said.

According to Pedersen, the student was working in the vicinity of a fume hood — an exhaust fan that removes dangerous fumes from a work area — when the explosion occurred.

“Perhaps the isopropyl alcohol used for sterilization could have flashed quickly,” he said.

There was no damage of note to the facility, he said, but the university would have to determine whether there was damage to equipment.

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